The Ugly Truth About Makeup and Skin Care

The Ugly Truth About Makeup and Skin Care


Are you a Label-Reader?

You know when you’re at the grocery store and you spot something delicious, so you turn it over to read the ingredients and something scary like monoglycerides stares back at you? And you decide to put it back immediately. I don’t know about you, but I get that feeling all the time because I truly care about what I put into my body.

I’m not the only person who has this feeling. Many people who care about what they eat, make sure to read the ingredients on food labels. They have come to memorize what is bad and what is good. They look for things like organic, natural, gluten free, and vegan. They know to stay away from ingredients that can’t be pronounced.

I follow a holistic nutritionist on Instagram (@wellnessbystella) who goes to grocery stores, reads labels, and dissects the ingredients for her followers. She identifies the good stuff and the bad stuff. It’s really interesting and has made me more aware of what I am eating.

Now let me ask you this, have you ever had that same feeling that I mentioned, but with makeup or skincare? Have you taken the time to read and research all of the ingredients in your skincare products the way you do with your food? After all, your skin is your largest organ.

"I started to realize there was a major disconnect between what I ingested through my stomach and what I ingested through my skin."

When I first made the switch to healthier lifestyle, skincare and makeup was the last thing on my radar. I would buy products from Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart and not even give a single thought about what was in them. As my healthy lifestyle progressed, I started to realize there was a major disconnect between what I ingested through my stomach and what I ingested through my skin.

Here is why you might want to examine what you are putting into your body through your skin: National Geographic points out that our skin is our largest organ—adults carry around 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms) and 22 square feet (2 square meters) of it. And the reality is, much of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. Some common ingredients found in most skincare/makeup are parabens, fragrances, polyethylene glycol, octinoxate, imidazolidinyl urea and the list goes on and on and on. Many of these nasty ingredients are entering into your pores every time you use them.

I know this all sounds scary but don’t worry, let’s break this down for you into a few easy steps.

The first step is learning and then deciding that you want to make a change .

Here are three easy ways you can make a change:

1. Research

It is so important to do some research on the ingredients that are in your products so you can decipher what is good and what is bad. I decided to take a look at a Body Shop product that my mom got me for Christmas a couple of years back. It’s the Fuji Green Tea Body Wash. The Body Shop is generally one of those companies that people think is pretty decent and advertises themselves as pretty clean. One look on their website reveals buzz words like natural, green, and clean. The ingredients in many of their products do not reflect those statements.

Here is a shortened list of some of the nasty ingredients that I found in the wash: Disodium EDTA, Polysorbate 20, Polyglyceryl-2 Caprate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

YUCK! Doesn’t seem so “natural” to me.

Not sure what all of those things are and how they can be harmful? A great app to use is ThinkDirty. It has a list of 800,000+ products that you can search forIt lists every ingredient in the product, gives an in-depth description, and individually rates them using the “dirty metre”. The “dirty metre” is a scale from zero to ten, zero being the least harmful and the cleanest to ten being the most harmful and the dirtiest. You can even scan the barcode on products to quickly get the information. This is a great tool to help you feel less overwhelmed.

2. Slow and steady wins the race

I know it’s overwhelming to make a huge change but it doesn’t have to be a massive overhaul. The next time you finish off a product, find a natural and clean alternative. Get rid of all of the products that you don’t use on a daily basis and then go from there.

3. Know where to shop

Walking into a drugstore probably isn’t your best bet. They usually have a really small selection of natural products. They will try and trick you with those buzz words, but this is where reading the ingredients and checking ThinkDirty comes into play.

The best natural beauty store, in my opinion, is The Detox Market. They have an online shop and stores in Canada and The United States. They are essentially the Sephora of green and clean beauty. They have amazing products and they care about sourcing ethical and clean makeup and skincare. The founder went through cancer and vowed to change up her life for good—starting from the outside. The best part is, a lot of their products are listed on ThinkDirty so you can check out their ratings.

Some other great places to find clean skincare/makeup are Big Carrot, WholeFoods and iHerb.

"It is so important to do some research on the ingredients that are in your products so you can decipher what is good and what is bad."

My overall tip, is to always read the label and do your research. Never trust the words that companies use, even if it says natural, turn it over and actually read the ingredients. Who cares if you have to spend 15 extra minutes in the store looking up the ingredients and doing some research? It will pay off in the long run. Your inner self with thank you!

Coming next issue: The Ethics of Skincare

Learn about our obsession with ingredient combinations ..

Plant-based snacks made using fewer, better ingredients. See what people are raving about and how you can get samples sent to you tomorrow.